Kiwi stayer Chocante will be tested for a berth in the 2017 Melbourne Cup when he runs in the $500,000 Heineken 3 St Leger Stakes (2600m) at Randwick on The Everest Race Day on Saturday.
Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh said that a good performance from Chocante in the revamped St Leger Stakes would see the five year stayer head to Melbourne to try to secure a berth in the Group 1 $6.25m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 7.
“He keeps improving with each run and the step-up to 2600m will be ideal for him. We’re very happy with him and a shower of rain would be perfect,” Marsh told the New Zealand Racing Desk.
“As long as he runs well, we will definitely be going to Melbourne and then we would look at the options before the Cup.
“He’s 28th in order of entry at the moment and, going by past years at this stage, we’d be looking comfortable to get a start. But we’ll wait and see and get Saturday out of the way first.”
Chocante led all of the way to win the Group 2 $300,000 Evergreen Turf Brisbane Cup (2200m) at Doomben during the 2017 Brisbane Winter Carnival and has had three runs this preparation and is coming off a last start third behind Foundry and Big Duke in the Group 1 $750,000 The Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick on September 30.
Corey Brown was aboard Chocante last start in The Metropolitan and gets the ride again on the on pace stayer who will jump from barrier four in the eleven horse St Leger Stakes field.
The Metropolitan winner Foundry is not in the field but the runner up Big Duke will be facing off against Chocante again.
Sydney’s leading trainer Chris Waller will saddle up two runners in the St Leger Stakes with both Who Shot Thebarman (fourth) and Libran (sixth) also coming out of The Metropolitan.
The Darren Weir trained Big Duke heads the betting for the St Leger Stakes at $2.90 with Ladbrokes.com.au ahead of Libran at $5, Who Shot Thebarman at $5.50, Chocante at $6 and Auvray at $7.50.